Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Metal Writing Sucks

The other day, I started reading Treme Stories and Recipes, a cookbook born of the HBO series Treme. As I metaphorically leafed through the digital "pages", I noticed that each of the introductory pieces was well written.

Well written.

Which is to say that descriptive passages featured clear, creative descriptions, economical use of words, avoided repetition and "meme speak" (what we old timers called cliches) and skillful metaphors relying on evocation, implication and imagination rather than spelling it all out.

I read fast. I read a lot. I wish I read more print. In my youth finding a typo, spelling mistake or other grammatical error in print was a big event. "Gotcha! How did no one see this? I reckon I'll write a letter to the editor."

In the present era of ultra brief news cycles, getting content to "front page" as soon as possible is the main goal of the media. Mistakes of all kinds are extremely common. Frequent factual errors and correction trails are found often.

Then there is the "culture" of contemporary writing. Modern writing is built on the maxim: hyperbole is necessity. The type of dueling language popular among the youth, at first found in comments, then social media, have been folded into current stylistic standards.

The result is verbosity, fragmented often conflicting metaphors and unreflexive parroting of niche language as though it is universal. In small doses, in specific contexts, this type of writing is fun. It can be a joyous celebration of linguistic excess. The problem, however, is that excess has become the norm.

Metal writing suffers a deep infection as a result of that listed above. I wrote about this elsewhere. Seek and ye shall find.

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